Tagged "Nintendo"

Toy Fair 2014
Jan 24

It was Toy Fair 2014 at London’s Kensington Olympia this week. Video games didn’t exactly feature prominently, but Sonic was there.

Peter Shilton, Toy Fair 2014

You can see him above, loitering in the background of a photo of event manager Simon Pilling. Sega weren’t exhibiting, so it’s hard to say exactly what Sonic was up to. Apart from loitering.

But importantly, Sonic’s presence is pretence enough to bring you this slightly uncomfortable photo of Peter Shilton from the show.

From play to academia, and the Epic Games Centre launched at Staffordshire University this week. That’s not a case of academia trying to be all hip and young; it’s a collaboration with developer Epic Games. Here’s their European Territory Manager Mike Gamble standing in the centre.

Epic Games Centre, Staffordshire University

Looks nice enough, doesn’t it?

It’s not exactly a local tie up. With headquarters in North Carolina, and additional studios in Washington, Utah, Poland, Korea and Japan, it’s not going to be very convenient for the “key personnel” involved from Epic. Even the UK arm, which handles licensing services for Europe, is based in East Sussex. There are going to be some hefty expense claims.

Derby University

Just down the A50, Derby University also blew the trumpet of its game-related degree courses, as its graduation ceremonies took place.

The chap in the photo is Peter Innes, who completed the BSc Computer Games Programming last year with a 2:1, and is now working for Microsoft in the fancy USA, but flew back for graduation. And to stand in front of a lorry with a cracking billboard on and have his photo taken.

It’s also worth noting that the Programme Leader for that particular course is the improbably named Dr Tommy Thompson.

BBC News - Nintendo

And finally to Nintendo, who have been in the actual news with their loss warning and resulting share price drop.

BBC News wins the award for best accompanying photo, with this effort of a slightly sad looking man near a Wii U.

It’s the standard to which we all aspire.

Nintendo Game Watch
Jun 04

The tech press is getting in a right froth over smart watches. Honestly, don’t they remember the Game Watch?

The calculator watch had been around since the 1970s, and a decade later the next step was the game watch. US company Nelsonic Industries was at the forefront of this exciting technological frontier.

The games were basic, and they typically couldn’t be played on your wrist – but they were often licensed, which was clearly the selling point. Nintendo were remarkably keen to pimp out their properties, and in 1992 three of them made it over to Europe through Zeon.

As Super Play put it at the time:

Of the three, Tetris is probably your best bet. This is probably the most addictive puzzle game ever, and one which adapts to on-wrist technology quite neatly. This version has been cut down a little from the original – the screen is only six blocks wide – but it plays just as well.

Inevitably, Tetris was the one that I didn’t buy. Like all 11-year-olds, I was an idiot.

So let’s have a look at the Super Mario Bros. 3 and Legend of Zelda tat I probably wasted a perfectly good Christmas present on.

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Rollcage tyre
Mar 22

Everyone loves something for nothing, so when some freeness is offered as a bonus for pre-ordering, or dished out at a games show, you’re not going to turn it down, are you? But you’re also not going to use it, are you? Let’s see what tat’s been languishing in a box in the attic for the last decade or two.

Yoshi’s Island soundtrack CD

Yoshi's Island OST

Ah, the soundtrack CD, a classic freebie – and still a common sight, even in these digital days. Sounds like a nice idea, but there aren’t many games that have music you’d want to listen to alone – mainly because that’s not what it’s for.

Yoshi’s Island is a case in point. It’s an incredibly (others might say insufferably) cute game, and the music is no different. The title, Love, Peace & Happiness, doesn’t exactly try to hide it.

The joy is almost deafening, and you’d struggle not to raise a smile when it first hits you. It’s another matter after that same tune has been recycled repeatedly in slightly varying musical styles. It must be tiring to be that happy all the time – it certainly is listening to it.

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iGame-Move
Jan 22

There’s a Hong Kong-based online retailer where, hidden away from the official console bundles and realms of third party peripherals, there’s a peculiar section titled “Other videogame consoles”. Here you’ll find a variety of dubious looking handhelds of all shapes and sizes, pre-loaded with hacks of NES games and more.

We don’t condone piracy here at Games Asylum – hence the lack of a link to the website in question – but the consoles found here are so brilliantly bizarre that we couldn’t resist taking a thorough look. Most of these devices don’t even have proper names, let alone adequate descriptions, so we’ve taken the liberty with some of them.

If curiosity gets the better of you, it shouldn’t be hard to spot the website’s name from the watermarks.

Angry Birds ZH-398

AngryBirdsHandheld

Costing less than £10, we very much doubt that the “Angry Birds ZH-398” has a particularly high build quality. Well known games such as Zumba, Plants vs Zombies, Pac-Man and “Anger Birds” are shown on the main menu. It’s existence is sure to anger Rovio, that’s for sure.

It’s impossible to tell if the 32 games it contains are genuine or bootleg clones, but we assume the latter.

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Oct 26

I was thinking about handheld screens recently – don’t ask – and a question occurred to me: when did everyone decide that, yes, widescreen definitely is the answer?

There’s only one way to answer that question: a scatter graph of screen width by year. WITH A TREND LINE.

Handheld Aspect Ratios

Look at that: what a trend line! Thanks to him, the gradual shift from nearly square screens (1:1) to widescreen (1.78:1 being the standard 16:9 widescreen TV aspect ratio) is clear to see. What a hero.

In fact, there was a square screen, on the not particularly legendary early ’90s Supervision – Quickshot or Watara, depending on your persuasion. The Game Boy and Game Gear were barely more rectangular, mind, at 1.11:1.

Around the same time, the Atari Lynx was being much more ambitious. The 1.57:1 aspect ratio nicely illustrates that: there’s nothing closer to widescreen on our graph until Sony with the PSP, 15 years later.

Around 2000, the next generation of handhelds started to move to slightly wider screens. Nintendo were strange ones around this time, the DS retreating back to 1.33:1 from the Game Boy Advance’s 1.5:1. They got back in line with the 3DS though, and a more respectable 1.67:1.

In fact, over the last few years it’s the iPhone 4 which looks most anachronistic, matching the Game Boy Advance’s aspect ratio of 1.5:1. Again, Apple got back in line though, with 1.78:1 – which looks close to an industry standard now – for the iPhone 5.

Analysis over. Source data follows, if that’s your thing.

(more…)

Jun 14

The web made a step towards being a whole lot bigger yesterday, when ICANN revealed the full list of potential new generic top-level domains – because .com is terribly 1985.

Sony have gone for .playstation, .xperia and .sony. Microsoft are after a handful, including .microsoft, .xbox and .live – giving them the option of both xbox.live and live.xbox. Another Microsoft application is for .bing, which opens up the delightful possibility of badda.bing.

It’s presumably all a bit too online for Nintendo, so there’s no .wii or .virtualboy on the cards. But they’re in good company – Twitter, Facebook and eBay were among the other companies conspicuous by their absense.

At the other end of the scale, Google and Amazon have gone after 101 and 76 new gTLDs respectively. They’re both among the five companies interested in .game, but Google is one of only two parties interested in .dot – and I would have thought that dot.dot alone would hold more allure than that. But with just the application process costing $185,000, that’s a lot to pay for basically one novelty domain name.

The only other games company that jumps out of the list is Konami, but they’re only after .konami, which isn’t terribly interesting. Nothing from the likes of EA and Activision, for example.

There are some oddities in the list – which is worth a look if you’ve got half an hour to scan the 1,930 applications – but also some inspired choices. Who wouldn’t want a .ninja domain? Or what about .ooo – gamesasylum.ooo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

No sign of .cotton though, sadly.

Jun 08

By now, it’s no secret what Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo wanted to say at E3. In some cases it was never a secret, even if it was supposed to be.

But what about how they said it? What can we glean from the the words they used?

Unfortunately – and surprisingly – no-one on the internet appears to have been sufficiently bored to transcribe the platform holders’ press conferences. So to engage in a nice spot of textual analysis, I’ve had to resort to the platform holders’ press releases.

So be it. Let’s have a look at which words cropped up most. That’s right: let’s word cloud.

Microsoft

Microsoft E3 2012 word cloud

Okay, Studios isn’t really fair, since so many of their games are by Microsoft Studios. And lots of those games are right up there: Halo and Gears and so on.

But with the announcement of SmartGlass – which Microsoft are definitely keen to stress is new – there’s an absolute shed load of entertainment. An awful lot of which is exclusive to the U.S.

Sony

Sony E3 2012 word cloud

Sony are evidently incapable of mentioning any one of their formats without suffixing it with system – so that’s why that’s huge.

Plenty of games there, but like Microsoft there’s almost as much entertainment and, in Sony’s case, content. But it’s obvious which property is key to Sony at the moment: LittleBigPlanet. It’s ruddy everywhere.

Nintendo

Nintendo E3 2012 word cloud

By contrast, Nintendo clearly consider themselves to be in the game making business – increasingly unlike Microsoft and Sony. Not much entertainment here, then, but a lot of Mario.

And with the new Wii U to promote, there’s quite a lot about the GamePad, and why they think it’s kind of a big deal.

It’s not only about games, it’s also about players. Which is probably how you’d expect Nintendo to differentiate themselves – from Microsoft, who make no noticeable mention of their public; and from Sony, who prefer consumers.

Notes

  • Word clouds created with Many Eyes.
  • The platform holder’s name and formats excluded from the word clouds, because obviously they’re mentioned a lot.
  • Microsoft: two press releases combined – one on games, one on entertainment and SmartGlass.
  • Sony: one neat, wide-ranging press release.
  • Nintendo: two press releases combined – one each for Wii U and 3DS.
Jun 03

Nintendo’s decision to release a special pre-E3 edition of their news show Nintendo Direct has a slight knee-jerk feel to it. Most have assumed it’s because EA and Ubisoft are planning to show their Wii U titles at E3 on Monday, which is something they wouldn’t be able to do without showing off the new and improved Wii U hardware. Nintendo’s full-blown conference isn’t until Tuesday, lest you forget.

So what’s new? The controller, now known as the Wii U GamePad, has improved analogue sticks and NFC has been confirmed allowing for Skylanders-style scanning of physical items. The button to activate it is circled in yellow in the image below:

As well as the new Wii U GamePad, a comfortable looking Wii U Classic Controller has also been shown which resembles an Xbox 360 controller. The blue lights on the bottom suggest four can be synced to a system.

The software which instantly appears when switching the Wii U on is known as Miiverse – a Mii Universe – which allows you to see friends who are online. If you become stuck on a game, it’s possible to contact other players and ask for help via software rather like Twitter. The Miiverse will also be viewable on 3DS, PC and mobiles after the Wii U launches.

During a demonstration, a player stuck on a generic zombie shooter video-chats with his trendy grandad for assistance. A black controller was used, complete with a matching Wii U. It’s probably safe to assume the Wii U will launch in two colours, just like the 3DS did.

There’s an internet browser built-in too, which can be viewed either on the controller or on your TV. Nothing fancy, but it should come in handy when a quick trip to GameFAQs is in order. Images on the TV can be covered up and then unveiled with a curtain pull and a drum roll. “Ta da! Here’s a picture of me in the nude!”

No games were shown apart from a few clips from last year’s tech demos but we only have to wait until Tuesday to see what Nintendo has been working on. Something a little more exciting than New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, we hope.

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